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By Mark Dolliver





SONY





When dealing with simple products--blue jeans, say-- consumers enjoy trying out unfamiliar brands. With more volatile technologies, though, people seek the reassurance of a familiar name--one that's given satisfaction in the past. Sony astutely taps into that tendency as it evokes the uncertainties of the future in a down-to-earth manner. Any one technology might become obsolete, but we're willing to believe an agile company like Sony will keep a step ahead of things. The ad expresses intelligent interest in the future without lapsing into gee-whiz cheerleading about it. And it reminds us that Sony has a knack for making things we want--even if we don't yet know what we want.





AGENCY: Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York





CLIENT: Sony Electronics, Park Ridge, N.J.





MEDIUM: consumer magazines





CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER: Lee Garfinkel





DEPUTY CREATIVE/ART DIRECTOR: Gary Goldsmith





CREATIVE GROUP HEAD/COPYWRITER: Dean Hacohen





PHOTOGRAPHY: stock





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VISTA MUTUAL FUNDS





Contrasting those 'who have experienced the returns of a Vista Fund' with those who haven't, the visual is funny. But is it smart? We may get ulcers if our funds lag behind the averages, but cardiac arrest comes when the market starts posting triple-digit losses, as it has recently. If your goal is to stay out of the coronary-care unit, you'd be better off sewing your money into a mattress. As of last week, more than half of Vista funds had negative returns in '97. That may not be exceptionally bad, given the market's woes. But one doubts people are flatlining because they failed to get in on this sort of fun.





AGENCY: Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York





CLIENT: Chase Manhattan Bank. New York





MEDIUM: investment publications





EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Linda Kaplan Thaler





CREATIVE/ART DIRECTOR: Richard Mahan





CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER: Steve Baer





ART DIRECTOR: John Pearson





COPYWRITER: Mark R. Fenske





ART BUYER: Bev Don





PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Callis





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JOHNSON CONTROLS





If you were a school administrator (and be grateful you're not), you'd spend half of each day being told you need to spend money you don't have on things you don't want. Johnson ingratiates itself with this harried audience by mocking the peremptory tone of such demands. In so doing, the ad encourages readers to hope they can rise above the daily grind of jury-rigged coping and assert some control over their domains. A reader needn't have a long attention span to take in the point (emphasized by red, boldfaced type) that Johnson has solutions to the problems it is citing and that these fixes will 'pay for themselves through the savings they create.' In other words, the ad tells readers what they want to hear--always one of life's more welcome experiences--while letting them feel they're facing their problems head-on. That's an effective combination.





AGENCY: Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee





CLIENT: Johnson Controls, Milwaukee





MEDIUM: trade publications





CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER: Pat Knapp





ART DIRECTOR: Kris Jenson





COPYWRITER: Scott Lynch





PHOTOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION: Altered Images, Milwaukee





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ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES





You know what's lacking in computer ads? Violence. Yeah, there's lots of blather about business as war, but where's the blood and guts? This spot holds our attention every second of the way because a runaway tanker truck is about to wreak death and destruction. The camera cuts between the truck and an office where a Boss From Hell berates an underling. 'I mean it, Jones! If that presentation is not on my desk in 30 seconds, you're fired! The audio, the video, the charts, the graphics--everything!' Armed with AMD's K6 processor--extolled by a voiceover as 'the most remarkable engine ever built for running Microsoft Windows'--the underling is able to meet his 30-second deadline and transmit the file, even as he sees the truck hurtling toward their building. The boss hears a voicechip on his own computer announcing the arrival of the file, but the look of triumph on his face fades into terror as--at long last--he sees the truck about to smash through his plate-glass window and obliterate him. The vignette ends with flames enveloping the screen. The first time through, a viewer may be too transfixed by the action-movie visuals to take in the sales pitch. But the spot holds up well on repeated viewings, and the message will soon sink in.





AGENCY: Hill, Holliday, Connors Cosmo-pulos, Boston





CLIENT: Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, Calif.





MEDIUM: 30-second TV





CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Jamie Mambro, Ernie Schenck





ART DIRECTOR: Dick Pantano





COPYWRITER: James Overall





AGENCY PRODUCER: Scott Hainline





PRODUCTION COMPANY: Mars Films, Venice, Calif.





DIRECTOR: Samuel Bayer





Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED